Fitness on Your Vacation

How do you stay fit on vacation? Strict plans or throw it all out the window? Here’s ideas when far away or nearby spots are calling.

When most of us think of vacation we think about throwing routine out

the window. This is important work. We need to break from routine to begin the process of letting go and rejuvenating. It is also important to have some form of structure in out day, even if minimal. If you are reading this blog I assume you find physical activity to be important in your daily life, even if you don’t know how to make that a regular occurrence. So here’s a guideline to help find exercise balance on your vacation.

First, it’s important to consider your long term goals. Are you currently training to lose weight, gain muscle, compete in an event? If you are scaling back a regular workout using alternative options, such as a shorter run or different terrain may be all that’s needed. If your goals are more around lifestyle and health you may want to consider how sleep, food, and social activities will contribute to your health on vacation.
Second, do a little research. Does your location have a fitness center, classes, a pool, a safe place to run/walk in the area. Many hotels can provide you with a running/walking loop nearby, just ask. Then consider how the options available stack up to your goals. I’ve been in many a hotel fitness center that offered me two cardio options and a lot of cable channels. I have found that having a couple of good fitness apps helps. I like Nike Training Club for easy on the go workouts I don’t have to think about putting together and can use body weight and speed to complete. I also enjoy Nike’s running app to help me track distance, time, and intensity for those places that do not have a pre-outlined route for me to follow.
If you are heading somewhere outside or more primitive consider the lay of the land. Will you be able to paddle, swim, climb, run on sand, hike mountains, work harder just to live outside? These activities all count, however it may feel different to use daily activities as your workouts and you may need to do some pre-trip training to be ready for the physical challenges all day activities may require.
Third, decide on a plan AND it’s ok if you don’t follow it to a T. On a recent trip to the coast of Mexico I created this plan to balance out my all day reading in the sunshine and evenings lounging with friends and family:
Friday – day we left, ran before work since I knew I’d be in the car for a long time.
Sat – off, traveling and relaxing.
Sunday – Beach run – a great way to see the locale and get a feel for the place I was planning to spend most of my time. Ocean swimming and SUP time – leisurely. Building activities into your daily thought process, even if you don’t know when you are going to do them is a great way to stay active on vacation.
Monday – Strength training – in my condo. Using items like door-frames (pull ups/lat work) and a full gallon jug of water (approx 9lbs) I was able to mimic my regular strength set. Adding in balance (1 foot, Russian lunges, bear crawls, and super slow sets) allows for functional training that challenges the core and exhausts muscle without heavier weights/overload. Adding in plyometrics (speed) allows for explosive movement that will also exhausts a muscle under less overload, plus adds a cardio element if you are looking for a quicker way to your goal.
Tues – active rest day – day on the open water fishing excursion. Did some swimming and snorkeling. Not to mention the functional training of standing upright on a rocking boat.
Wed – Yoga – These sessions are gems. I love looking for and finding a local yoga class. It’s always fun to check out a new studio and hope I get enough of the language to figure out what poses come next. Whether I do or not, the end result is still bliss. Plus this balances out my sitting (aka as reading whole novels) and over use of movement patterns like paddling, climbing, hiking if those are a main part of my trip.
Thurs – Strength training – see above. Plus adding in the family activity of playing in the sand, paddling SUPs, and swimming in the surf.
Friday – Beach run – as the vacation comes to a close this allows me to say goodbye and observe from a new set of eyes, not beginner excited ones, but the ones who’ve been looking and are ready to see what’s below the surface. A great skill in life, too.
Sat – off / 1st travel day – if possible on the first leg of the trip, I may attempt to get a short run, yoga session, or paddle in depending on departure time. This allows balance to the sitting of a long drive.
Sun – active rest as I unpack all my memories and practical items like laundry followed by rest night and vacation integration.
Enjoy!

Planning for Fitness Success

This week’s idea for healthy living = PLANNING

It’s Fall, back to school, and illness season. So planning will be key. If you haven’t paid things forward it will matter that you determine your strategy to get through the season and how to maintain workouts if you get ill. How will you adjust your schedule for busy days or days/weeks you feel like crap. Falling completely off the wagon doesn’t seem to be the best option because most have trouble getting back on – Damn horse ran fast after I fell off – SO … here are some tips for planning balance in your life.

1)      Determine what you can do – maybe you usually workout an hour but the first week of school or during a big project it might be 30min a day or 2 15min segments. Maybe find activities that you can include for calorie burn like parking and walking or picking events with friends that include activities to participate in.

2)      Pay attention to food – if you aren’t working out as much or hard you may need to cut back on calories – often easier when sick than during a busy time. So just notice and maybe choose the salad and lean chicken, smaller portions, or eating less snacks throughout the day – don’t go too long between meals or you’ll tank your blood surgar.

3)      Know this is how healthy living works – life happens, we get sick, go on vacation, have a whole town party for a week where we dress up. Give yourself a break and keep postive. This is the stuff that makes life worth living and if you can strike the balance between healthy eating, working-out, and living you are doing it. Your horse won’t take off with your wagon – you’ll have no trouble living the fitness lifesytle if you have put some effort into planning for life.

It’s Park & Walk Season

So,  I was noticing on my way out to the car mid morning …  that is smells different outside. Tis the season of …

Parking and Walking!!! Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!!!!  The ice is gone and may not return in full force (to cover our parking lots) till the leaves fall again.

I’m sure that’s not the seasonal name you were thinking I was going to say. So now that I’ve got your attention and before you list all the reasons you can’t walk more hear me out.

In order to lead a more healthy lifestyle you must add physical activity (PA) into your day. PA is about doing more throughout your day that gets your body moving  AND the small things add up. Below is a chart from the 2008 physical activity guidelines http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter1.aspx

You can see adding as little as 150 min / week of medium level of activity brings some to substantial health benefits.

Below the table are definitions of intensity levels. If you are wondering about intensity levels;  how to figure out your ideal low, moderate, high ranges l can help you do that. Otherwise go with the concept that low you can hold a conversation about the flowers, medium you can say a sentence about them, probably sweating and your breathing is getting heavier, and high you are speedy, their colors are blending together, you aren’t commenting much on them one way or the other but you are sweating and breathing hard.

AND before you say I don’t have 150min to give up each week, I’m already too busy. Here’s some ways:

PARK AND WALK. I don’t park by the bus stop because I love the asphalt. I do it because I can. I can pay it forward. I know someday I’ll have to park closer. It allows me to fit more activity into my busy days and the view is nice walking into our Bodo building.

Get up every 90 min and walk around your worksite – outside or in doesn’t matter just move.

Do desk yoga – It helps with repetive movements, getting us grounded for our next clt, and stress levels

Strength Train – YES, I said you can strength train during your day. I have a program so that you can hit all the major muscle groups, move once an hour, and NOT sweat too much, at least not enough that you have to change your clothes.

Take the stairs whenever you can. – Stair climibing is a great way to get a cardio burst in throughout your day. Challenge yourself to run up, or take two at a time, or go up and down for a full 10min.

Check out the MET chart below. METs are a way we calculate energy expenditure. If you’d like to know your range I can figure it out for you, it’s based on weight and uses a an value of 1 for resting. As the METs get higher the harder the PA you are performing. As you can see from the chart there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily work and life activites. You JUST might be doing more than you think you are already! There’s also a great chart at the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/pdf/PA_Intensity_table_2_1.pdf

Rember to meet the guidelines you can break up the time – 3 /10min sessions still equals 30min in your daily activity counts.

And before you let the words “I can’t do those things because of my knee, my back, my hip, my kids, my ______ (or whatever)” STOP. Fine, don’t park by the bus stop. Park the next spot up from your normal spot and walk 10 steps more not 20. Don’t take the stairs if you feel more pain – pick something else to do. Focus on what you CAN do not what you can’t.

You never know, you just might find that by going slowly it doesn’t take long to do that thing you felt you’d never do. Step by Step – literally

Enjoy your parking and walking (aka spring) season!

 

Classification of Total Weekly Amounts of Aerobic Physical Activity Into Four Categories

Levels of Physical Activity Range of Moderate-Intensity Minutes a Week Summary of Overall Health Benefits Comment
Inactive No activity beyond baseline None Being inactive is unhealthy.
Low Activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes a week Some Low levels of activity are clearly preferable to an inactive lifestyle.
Medium 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week Substantial Activity at the high end of this range has additional and more extensive health benefits than activity at the low end.
High More than 300 minutes a week Additional Current science does not allow researchers to identify an upper limit of activity above which there are no additional health benefits.

 

Action is needed at the individual, community, and societal levels to help Americans become physically active.

  • Inactive is no activity beyond baseline activities of daily living.
  • Low activity is activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or the equivalent amount (75 minutes, or 1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Medium activity is 150 minutes to 300 (5 hours) minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week). In scientific terms, this range is approximately equivalent to 500 to 1,000 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week.
  • High activityis more than the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

MET chart:

Iowa CHAMPs Cardiac Rehabilitation Guide: Exercise: http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/internalmedicine/champs/metchart.html

.

METs Exercise Recreational Occupational Activities of DL
1.5-2.0 METs Strolling 1-1.5 mph 1 miles in 40-60min Knitting; Playing cards; Sewing; Watching TV Desk work; Driving auto/truck; Sitting doing light assembly; Typing; Using hand tools; writing Brushing hair/teeth, Light housework, Making bed; Partial bath; Polishing furniture; Washing clothes
2.0-3.0 METs Walking, level 2.0-2.5 mph, 1 mile in 24-30min Cycling, level outdoors-5mph Horseback riding (walk); Light golf (power cart); Playing musical instrument; Shuffleboard; Woodworking Bartending; Crane operation; Standing doing light or medium assembly; TV/auto/car repair; Working heavy lever Cooking; Driving car; Ironing; riding lawn mower; Scrubbing floor; walls, cars, windows; Showering; Sweeping; Tub bath
3.0-4.0 METs Walking 3.0-4.0 mph, 1 mile in 15-20min Cycling, outdoors

5.5 mph

Billiards; Bowling; Canoeing; Croquet; Fly fishing; Golf (pulling cart); Shopping; Volleyball (non-competitive) Baling hay; Driving heavy truck; heavy machine assembly; Janitorial work; Light welding; Operating large levers; Plastering; Plumbing; Stocking shelves Cleaning windows; Climbing stairs (slowly); General House work; Kneeling; Light work; Packing/unpacking; Power lawn mowing (light); Sexual intercourse; Stocking shelves; Vacuuming
4.0-5.0 METs Walking 3.5-4.0 mph 1 mile in 15-17 min Cycling, 8 mph Calesthenics Swimming (20 yd/min) Ballet; Dancing; Gardening (how, weeding, digging), Golf (carrying clubs); Table tennis; Tennis (doubles); Volleyball Building interior of house; Carrying trays/dishes; Farm work (sporadic); House painting, Lifting, carrying objects(20-40 lb); Light carpentry; Mechanic work Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
5.0-6.0 METs Walking 4.0-4.5 mph 1 mile in 13-15 min Biking, 10 mph Canoeing (4m/hr); Gardening (digging); Skating (ice/roller); Social/square dancing; Softball/baseball (non-game); Stream fishing Handyman work (moving, shoveling); Heavy Carpentry; Putting in sidewalk Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
6.0-7.0 METs Walking/jogging, 4.0-5.0 mph 1 mile in 12-13 min Biking, 11 mph Swimming (breaststroke) Backpacking (light); Badminton; Hiking; Hunting; Horseback riding (trot), Skiing (cross country 2.5 mph); Skiing (light downhill); quare dancing; Tennis (singles) Exterior home building; Lifting, carrying objects (45-64 lb); Shoveling (10/min, 9 lb); Splitting wood Lawn mowing (push mower); Snow shoveling (light snow)
7.0-8.0 METs Walking, 5 mph 1 mile in 12 min Biking (outdoors) 12 mph Swimming (backstroke), 40 yd/min Badminton (competitive); Basketball (non-game); Canoeing (5 mph); golf (carrying bag); Horseback (gallop); Skiing (downhill, vigorous) Ascending stairs with 17 lb load; Lifting, carrying (65-84 lb); Moving heavy furniture; Sawing
8.0-9.0 METs Jog/run 5.5 mph Biking (outdoors) 13 mph Swimming (breaststroke) 40 yd/min Rowing machine; Rope jumping (60-80 skips/min) Basketball (non-game); Handball/squash/racquetball; Mountain climbing; Soccer (non-team); Touch football; Tour skiing Lifting, carrying (85-100 lb); Moving heavy furniture (moving van work); Shoveling (14 lb scoops, 10 scoops/min); Using heavy tools
9.0-10.0 METs Jog/run, 6 mph 1 mile in 10 min Football (competitive); sledding/tobogganing Heavy labor; Lumberjack; Shoveling (16 lb scoops) Ascending stairs carrying 54 lb
11.0+ METs Run 7 mph (11.5 METs) 8 mph (13.5 METs) Competitive sports: Basketball, Handball, Racquet, Rowing

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What’s New Year’s have to do with Valentine’s Day?

 What’s New Year’s Resolutions have to do with Valentine’s Day, you ask????

Most have given up on their NYRs by V-Day – DON’T BE ONE OF THEM … Be the BEST you, YOU can be.

If you have kept at it and feel like your new health goal is finally beginning to feel like a new you – CONGRATULATIONSthis was the hardest part. Next stage is about keeping your commitment to yourself and moving into maintenance of your new habit until you forget you didn’t used to do it.

If you have fallen off your wagon – go catch the horse and get back on J, it’s not as hard as you think. You have already begun the process of change – your body and mind will remember. Getting back to it isn’t as hard as starting anew. Remember failures are part of the stepping stones to success. What did you learn by falling off?

So back to V-Day –What will you do to love yourself welltoday? For me: I worked out hard this morning and plan to enjoy some of today’s deliciousness (in moderation), my chocolate is well earned today!

Here’s to a healthier you in 2013!

Stacy

*And if this seems way overwhelming come and talk with me. I can help you break it down into bite sized chunks.

A Healthier You in 2013

It is important to set a realistic goal. On average fitness resolutioners hit it hard in January and burn out by Valentine’s Day. Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself and help make sure you’ve got the stamina to make it to at least Spring Break and beyond!

    1) What is your big goal? (Be specific – I want to smoke/drink/watch TV less, I want to eat more healthy or to lose weight are too generic – What do those really mean? Break them down to specific ideas. I want to eat at least 3 balanced meals per day, smoke X amount/day, watch X hours of TV, exercise X times/week, etc)

 

  •       (Healthy weight loss is approx 1-2lbs/week. If you’ve got 50lbs to lose that’s a minimum of 25weeks – you didn’t put that weight on overnight and you won’t take it off that quickly either. Your body is smart and will do it’s best to maintain a sense of safety. Lose too fast and research shows it usually comes back on with vengeance)

 

2) What is one small step you can start doing this week to reach it? (To gain or lose we need to manipulate the caloric intake/output – this fits well within a weekly tracking goal)

 

 

 

3) Break it even smaller – what’s one step for today, tomorrow, the next to reach your weekly goal?

 

 

 

4) How many obstacles will get in your way? How will you overcome them? (Thinking through this helps you create a plan. You won’t figure them all out but you will be better able to handle them if you have given some thought to what will keep you from your goals.)

 

 

 

5) Why do you want this goal at this time? (This is your driving fuel. Important to spend some time figuring out your why – if it’s not your goal it’ll be much harder to maintain.)

 

Weeding Your Garden, Getting Back on Track for Your Fitness and Health Goals

We have all done it. Created a goal, started out strong, only to have our motivation leak out of us and suddenly go missing. Before we know it we’ve quit – we just stopped showing up. In June’s post we discussed “planting our garden”, now it’s time to weed it. In order to keep a garden healthy we must get rid of the plants that aren’t helping it grow.

Here are 5 ways to “weed your garden” and stay on track for your fitness and health goals.

  1. Look at your schedule for the last 3 weeks – determine what is soaking up your time, what you can cut out, and where you can schedule in workouts.
  2. Check out your eating habits – have you increased portions, need to get back to your journal, or eliminate the unhealthy choices from your cupboards. Do this now.
  3. Find a workout buddy – either in person or online – someone you can be accountable to and who can be honest with you about your workout and diet behaviors (in a supportive way). This will help as your motivation wanes next time.
  4. Do the above & recommit to yourself to yourself and your goals.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up – progress is measured not by how far you go without falling down, but how quickly you get back up after you do. Life happens and healthy living happens as a result of healthy choices every day. The important thing is to get back to it as quickly as possible!

3 Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

So we are almost a month into your New Year’s Resolutions. How are you doing? Have you been able to make your daily and weekly goals? or Is you motivation waning and you have forgotten what had you so ready to take on this task? Here is 3 steps to getting back on track and keep yourself moving toward your goals.

Review what progress you have made – you did start something. Review what you have done even if it was only a day or a week. Recall how it felt to have accomplished that first day. Reflect on what was so motivating then.

If you didn’t write it down then. Write it down now.

What are you working towards?

What are you willing to do each day to accomplish it?

How long will it take you? (losing a pound / week is recommended for healthy lifestyle change)

What was your big obstacle? What caught you and kept you from reaching your goal so far? Was it your schedule? Was it support (or lack of it) from friends and family? This isn’t a place to find failure but learning. So look at what went wrong and make a decision about what you can do differently and start again. START AGAIN!!!

The path to success isn’t about never having set backs. It’s about how many times you have a set back and how you get back up. So if you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution wagon this year. JUST get back on.

Endings and Beginnings

Here we are at another year end. How was your’s? Did you meet some goals? Re-evaluate others? Did you reach what seemed to be an impossible challenge? Did you fall short of an important task? 

Spend some time reflecting on your year. For many we are very good at coming up with what needs to change, creating the goal, and then moving through it or beyond it without a way to measure our progress. All movement, even the ones that feel backwards, is progress. Here’s a worksheet to help you reflect on your year and get ready for the next year of your growing wisdom.

What do you want more of? 

 

What do you want less of?

 

What needs a small change? 

 

A big one?

 

Who do you want to be in the next year? 

 

How will you know when you’ve reached your goal?

 

What rewards you for your efforts?

 

How will you re-evaluate your progress throughout the process? (daily, weekly, monthly, project based, etc).

 

What does success look like for you?

 

Glancing back at the above – what else needs your attention?

 

And are these goals truly yours?

 

Repeat this process as needed. Remember it’s precision not perfection and the journey is what matters most.

Dressing Up Your Fitness

Here we are in October, the month of costumes and scare tactics. As you reflect upon the challenge you took last month – committing to three months of fitness routines – I wonder how you are doing? This is a great time to look at your own scare tactics and how you’ve dressed up your excuses.

One thing guaranteed about life is it’s going to change and the other thing … that’s it’s not always easy. Most of us have a great thing called our brain which is very good at talking us into and out of ideas, goals, and behaviors. So today look closely at how you are talking yourself out of exercise and other healthy behaviors you’ve committed to.

How do you dress up your excuses? Do you use them as masks to hide behind? Do you allow them to be the monologue of your life, “It will never work, I can’t, or if only _____”. Do you use these same excuses in other challenging situations? I wonder what purpose they are serving? We don’t do anything (even that which seems harmful) we don’t get something out of. So figure out what you are getting out of making that excuse and decide if it’s worth it. For me sometimes time with my family is worth my workout but it’s not something I use to forgo the whole plan.

What kinds of scare tactics to you use? Do you tell yourself, “I won’t be able to, I have to avoid, I don’t deserve ______”? These are what is called avoidance goals and they are not as effective long term as approach goals. Sure you’ll make some change in the beginning but over time telling yourself you can’t have that extra piece of cake or you won’t get to do your favorite activity gets old. You end up throwing the whole goal out because your want is greater in the moment and you feel like you can’t win anyway.

You are better off to create approach goals. Ones with positive outcomes. Not only does reward systems work better they last longer than punishment based systems. So create your optimum reward system so not only are you reaching your goals but enjoying getting there too. Life can be pretty sweet when you focus on the process not the perfection.

Routines and Fitness

For many of us fall is the time we get “back on the wagon” when it comes to our fitness routines. Months of longer days, warmer weather, and high energy activities have left us happy and overwhelmed. Add in extra food and beverage consumption and we may even have a few new pounds to cart around. Routines are important when commiting to a healthier lifestyle. Routines help us keep track of and make new behaviors habits. Just the act of tracking will increase or decrease a behavior. Many people balk at the idea of journaling and it’s still one of the best tools we have to truly change our behaviors. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Something as simple as hash marks can still have a big impact on our behaviors.

Another thing routines help us with is taking the overwhelming work of constantly changing and making it managable. We use the routine as a way to come into new behaviors without complicated thought processes, constant schedule shifts, and working so hard to think about what we are going to do. Instead putting a workout appointment on your calendar with an alert automatically reminds you to workout daily.

It’s the small changes you do daily that result in the large changes of creating a more healthy lifestyle. It matters what you do each day and adds up quickly. So today take some time to outline your goals for the next 3 months. Put them on paper, scheduling them into your life, and commit to making them happen. Track them along the way and watch yourself develop into the person you want to be.